Elevation: 9,020 ft
Climbing and access information for this peak is on Page 338 of the book. Updated November 2018
There is a question as to whether Piney Peak or Garns Mountain is the highest Big Hole Mountain peak. Ken Jones writes:
“Garns Mountain (9,016 feet) and Piney Peak (9,019 feet) as of July 9, 2001. I’m not sure where you got the 9,019 feet elevation for Piney Peak. However, the 9,016 feet elevation for Garns Mountain is at the benchmark, and my best estimate was that the highest summit rock rises 3 feet above the benchmark. Working with a sighting level (both directions), I was unable to determine which of these two peaks is higher. I’m not sure that ‘The highest point in the Big Hole Mountains’ can be entirely justified in your description of Piney Peak.”
The most recent estimates deem Piney Peak (9,020 feet) as 4 feet higher than Garns Mountain (9,016 feet). Consequently, Piney Peak is now considered to be the highest peak in the Big Hole Mountains. See the Garns Mountain, Piney Peak and Red Butte traverse page for updated details on how to reach these 3 summits. Also, use the link below to see Dan Robbins’ trip report. Margo Mandella provides additional information below from her and Steve’s 2018 backpack trip to Piney Peak from the south. USGS Garns Mountain
Piney Peak Trip by Margo Mandella
We climbed Piney Peak from the south as an overnight trip during which we also climbed Peak 7978, Black Mountain, Chicken Peak, Liars Peak and Peak 8619. All these peaks are accessible off a well-traveled trail from Fleming Canyon that is also popular for guided hunting and dirt bikes. There are no water sources along or near the main trail except for one small spring that was not flowing when we were there in late September.
Access from Fleming Canyon
To get to Piney Peak, first get to Fleming Canyon. As you travel toward Victor, Idaho, on ID-31, the canyon is located on the north side of the highway. Specifically, the canyon is between Stouts Mountain and the West Piney Girls Recreation Camp. The canyon turnoff is not signed and is easily missed. Putting Fleming Canyon into Google Maps will get you close to the canyon’s jeep road (shown in Google [erroneously] as FST-270, this trail is actually FST-079).
If you have a 4WD vehicle, you can travel a good distance into the canyon, but you may need a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, depending on conditions/time of year. There is no formal parking anywhere. To climb Peak 7978, follow this jeep road until it turns into a single track trail. Park wherever it is convenient. We parked near Gopher Canyon, but you can possibly get farther in, near Snowslide Gulch.
Southeast Ridge, Class 2
From where you park, hike on FST-079 faurther into Fleming Canyon until you encounter a junction with the Dry Canyon Trail. Stay to the right to stay on FST-079. As you continue upward on the trail, you will encounter signage. At this point, follow signs to Black Mountain. Continue past Black Mountain until you reach a bigger junction with signs for several trails around 7,800 feet. It is 3 miles to Piney Peak from here.
Continue on this trail until you are at the base of the Piney Peak’s Southeast Ridge. If you have climbed Liars Peak first, bushwhack from that summit into Liars Peak’s Northeast Gully to avoid rock faces and reconnect with the main trail.
Ascend the Southeast Ridge to Piney Peak’s summit. From here, enjoy views of the Teton Range and other Big Hole peaks including Garns Mountain (immediately to the northeast). Another ranked peak (Peak 8619) shares a saddle with Piney Peak and is worth the side trip.